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House Admin to Seek Second CR to Fund Committees

In the absence of a committee funding resolution, House Administration Chairman Bob Ney (R-Ohio) said Wednesday that he plans to ask for a unanimous consent agreement to provide money for committees for another month.

It would be the second temporary funding resolution. On March 26 the House agreed to fund the committees at levels from last Congress for another two weeks, which ends Friday.

“We’ve got to sit down and see where we are with the numbers,” Ney said.

He emphasized that the delay has nothing to do with partisan squabbling, saying cooperation with ranking member John Larson (D-Conn.) has been “great.”

House committees have asked for a funding increase totaling almost $50 million for the 108th Congress, $11 million of which was requested by the new Homeland Security Committee.

House rules stipulate that the biannual committee funding resolution be passed by March 31, but the rules also contain an interim funding provision to fund committees until a permanent committee funding resolution is passed.

Ney said he and Larson agreed at the time the first continuing resolution was passed to fund committees at a slight increase over last Congress’ levels to help the panels continue operating in the interim.

“That’s what’s keeping them going. It would have started to get very tight for these committees,” he said. “I don’t know what we’re going to give them for this next month.”

Explaining the delay, Ney said funding an entirely new committee has complicated the process.

“We have a very unique situation in this funding resolution,” Ney said in his floor speech introducing the first temporary resolution. “So this year our ranking member and me and the members of the committee had even a bigger task to set up the [Homeland Security panel] … to make sure that important committee can function and that it really is considered absolutely outside the box.”

But at the time, Ney acknowledged that “negotiations on the 2004 budget resolution delayed work on the committee budget resolution.”

The war supplemental appropriations bill has also consumed a considerable amount of House leaders’ time in recent weeks. Speaker Dennis Hastert’s (R-Ill.) office vets House Administration’s committee funding numbers before they are brought to the floor.

Larson told the House during consideration of the first temporary resolution that “this extension has no impact on the well thought-out plan of the two-thirds/one-third distribution in the committee that all the chairs and ranking members had agreed to over the course.”

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